Today I’m going to explain how to search engine optimise your blog posts for the search engines, most importantly Google.
Now, blog post search engine optimisation (SEO for short) is surprisingly simple, because you’re unrestricted by the usual limitations of meta titles, meta descriptions and on page content associated with product, category or directory pages.
Instead you can write as much content as you like, making the page more contextually relevant with lots of well spread out keywords. As a result this makes your blog post more likely to rank naturally in the search results
Long Tail Search Terms
Take this blog post for example, which has been optimised to rank for a number of long tail phrases around ‘blog posts’ and ‘optimisation’ as well as ‘rank’ and ‘Google’.
So someone could find this page by asking the search engines “How do I optimise my blog posts” or by entering a search query as simple as “Optimise blog posts” or “Make blog posts rank in Google”.
Look up at the title and the first two paragraphs to see all the relevant keywords and how they closely relate to these example enquiries –especially how they appear in order from left to right. Remember that Googlebot scans from left to right, just like a real person.
While these aren’t huge search terms, collectively they could generate a few visits a day. This is good because as a blog grows in content, it grows in traffic. So a thousand blog posts, each receiving a single visit per day, would equate to a thousand visits. Now there’s an incentive to write more articles!
Head Search Terms
Blog posts can also rank high in the search results for bigger search terms. Typically this happens in less competitive niches. Product reviews and exclusive content can rank highly and very easily if you’re the early bird that catches the worm.
If your review is exclusive and particularly good, it will be easy to market and gain many natural links, making it more likely to not only rank high for search terms like “Product name review”, but even the name of the product itself.
Magazine Style Titles
The greatest downfall of good quality content on the internet is often the title. This is because writers and journalists have been creating eye catching headlines for centuries. Can you imagine any of The Sun’s catchy puns ranking for popular search terms in Google?
Search Engines are an Index
When scanning through an index, what do you look for? Keywords relevant to your search of course. Despite all the intelligence and algorithms that drive them, search engines are no different. And this is why a keyword relevant title will always rank much higher than a catching headline.
And because the search robots scan from left to right, just like a person, it’s always a good idea to place mention the most important keywords earlier in the title.
Just like a good meta title and meta description, an optimised title and introductory paragraph that’s rich with relevant keywords can make all the difference when it comes to search engine rankings.
To ensure that I meet the needs of both search engines and people I often enter the exact same (or near exact) title and description into the meta data. However, if you neglect to enter any meta information into the SEO fields of your Wordpress blog, Google will display the title of the blog post as its meta title and the first paragraph as its meta description.
Also make sure that the URL of the blog post matches the title.
Contextually Relevant Content
The more relevant your blog post is to the search query, the higher it will rank in the search engine results. So ensure that your content is crafted specifically to your chosen topic.
To keep your content as contextually relevant as possible, it’s important not to go off at a tangent or start talking about associated topics if they’re going to steer the reader’s journey away from the main topic. Because if you’re steering your readers away, chances are that you’re steering the search robots away from the relevancy as well.
I could stop talking about blog post optimisation and make a quick mention about link building for example. But so long as it doesn’t take up the majority of the article, the search engines will still know that this article is focussed on optimising your blog posts and not about link building.
We know that the best links for SEO come from high quality content. But the very best links come from relevant content with a relevant keyword link which points to an equally relevant page. As a result, well optimised blog posts can also become a powerful link building tool, because a good link it’s just about passing strength, it’s about passing relevancy too.
Relevant Content + Relevant Keyword Link to Relevant Page = Maximum Relevancy
Scanning Left to Right
Now that we’ve discussed blog post optimisation, let’s revisit the title and introductory paragraphs and see how they would appear in Google.
Based on what you’ve read, scan the meta title and meta description from left to right in relation to the example search queries below and you can see how the content has been optimised to pick up as many of these long tail search terms as possible.
"How do I optimise my blog posts"
"Optimise blog posts"
"Make blog posts rank in Google"
"Blog post optimisation"
I’ve tried to keep the search queries relatively short, but imagine all the different search queries which could be picked up by the correct left-to-right order of keywords throughout the meta title an description.
And of course, the blog post itself is rich in content with over 1,000 words and containing approximately 93 well spread out, contextually relevant keywords.
But What About H2 and H3 Tags?
They’re good in the mix of things. But it’s not worth risking over optimisation by using tags which are too heavily targeted. There are plenty of keywords in the content of this blog post, so keyword optimised H2 ad H3 tags aren’t necessary. Besides, it would look strange to readers if the words ‘blog’ and ‘post’ appeared in every sub heading for an article of this size.
Relevancy & Strength
We’ve done all we can for the relevancy and quality of this blog post. But to achieve prominent rankings, sometimes we need to strengthen the domain as a whole and generate relevant links to the content. However, if the quality of the content is good, then marketing it and getting links to it should be easy.
So to sum up, relevancy is an important part of ranking and link building, just as the quantity and quality of links are. If you can get relevancy right, your rankings can improve based on this and not just the sheer strength of links pointing to a webpage or website.
Adam is a Senior SEO Executive at Starcom Media Vest, London and could talk about content driven SEO strategy all day long.